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Palm Oil Problem

What is palm oil?
Palm oil comes from the fruit of the African oil palm. You might not realize it, but around 40 to 50 percent of your household products contain this commonplace oil, which is found in snack foods, shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning agents, detergents and toothpaste. 
 
What’s the problem? 
The tropical temperatures and nutrient-rich soils of Indonesia and Malaysia make these areas prime cultivation lands for palm oil production. To convert these properties to farmland, entire rainforests are destroyed on the scale of 300 football fields every hour
 
After a crop has been harvested, corporate growers move on to the next piece of forest, and the process starts again. Orangutans and many other animals cannot survive without these forests
 
What is Zoo Atlanta doing? 
  • Zoo Atlanta and Sodexo, the Zoo’s food service and catering company, are pending members of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), with a goal to ensure that by 2015, all of our food products will contain only sustainable palm oil. 
  • Zoo Atlanta staff are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Palm Oil Task Force. 
  • Zoo Atlanta actively participates in Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs for Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, Malayan sun bears, Sumatran tigers and wreathed hornbills – all species in decline as a result of habitat destruction due to deforestation for palm oil plantations. 
  • Zoo Atlanta is a proud partner of the Ape Conservation Effort (ACE), and we work daily to raise awareness of the plight of orangutans and other wildlife facing population declines in Southeast Asia. 
What can YOU do? 
You are an important part of the solution. 
  • Be a savvy shopper! Look for these logos on products you buy. Write to manufacturers to encourage them to use these logos to make consumers’ choices easier. 

 

  • If you don’t find these logos on your favorite products, let the companies know! Write to encourage a switch to sustainable palm oil. If your favorite companies have already switched to sustainable palm oil, give them a public pat on the back on your own social networks. 
  • Spread the word to friends and family. Many people simply are not aware of the link between wildlife and unsustainable palm oil. 
Why not just boycott palm oil? 
This might seem like an effective plan, but encouraging sustainability is much better. Palm oil is found in so many household items that if we stopped using these products altogether, companies would find an alternative that might be even more detrimental to wildlife and wild places. Encourage companies to make the switch to sustainable instead. 
 
 
Our partners at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo have compiled fantastic resources on the palm oil crisis.
 
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